How to Shrink a Polyester Fitted Cap

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Maybe your favorite hat is feeling a little stretched out from constant wear, or maybe you fell in love with a hat that was too big and bought it anyway. Whatever the reason you need to do so, there are several ways to shrink a polyester cap. All of them are simple and easily done without any special equipment.


How to Shrink a Cap in the Shower

Shrinking your cap in the shower is a good choice because you don't have to worry about the shape. The cap will stay on your head the entire time, so you need not worry about it getting misshapen in the washing machine or damage to the visor.

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  1. Place the cap on your head.
  2. Take a shower as you normally would but leave the hat on while you shower.
  3. Dab the hat with a bath towel when you dry off. Simply push the towel into the hat to soak up some of the water. Your goal is to prevent it from dripping all over the place, not to dry it completely.
  4. Keep the hat on until it's dry. The hot water will shrink the cap, and drying it in place will allow it to conform to the shape of your head for a perfect fit.
  5. If you're in a hurry or need a bit more shrinkage, use a hair dryer to dry the cap. Opt for a medium heat setting so you don't damage the cap.


How to Shrink a Cap in the Oven

The oven method is an effective way to shrink a polyester hat, but you must stay close. Never put your hat in the oven and then walk away. You'll want to stay nearby to make sure nothing goes wrong.

  1. Heat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place a paper towel on a baking tray and then set your hat on the towel. Don't skip this step. Putting the hat directly on the baking tray may scorch it.
  3. Put the hat in the oven and leave it there for about five or 10 minutes. Pull the hat out frequently, give it a minute to cool, and then try it on.
  4. Repeat the process until the hat shrinks to the desired size.


How to Shrink a Cap in the Sink

Another option for shrinking your hat is to give it a good soak in hot water. You don't want to boil your hat, but you do want to use the hottest water you can. To get the water hot enough, you may need to heat it on the stove. Do so until the water is steaming but not boiling.


  1. Fill your sink or a pot with steaming hot water.
  2. Dissolve a tablespoon of bleach-free detergent in the water. Dish soap works too.
  3. Place the cap in the hot water and allow it to soak for 30 minutes.
  4. Rinse the hat thoroughly in warm water using tongs to hold it if it is too hot to handle after its soaking.
  5. Blot as much water out of the hat as you can with a clean towel.
  6. Wear the hat while it dries to get a perfect fit.


How to Shrink a Cap in the Washer

If you prefer, you can run your hat through the washing machine rather than hand washing it. If you do, you'll need to be careful that the hat doesn't come out misshapen. To keep your cap's shape intact, throw it in a garment bag before you wash it. You can also purchase a hat form keeper that encircles your cap and keeps it in the correct shape in the washing machine.


  1. Place your hat in a garment bag or a shape keeper.
  2. Wash the hat in your washing machine using hot water. Warm water may work if you only need the hat to shrink a little, but hot water is more effective.
  3. Pull your hat out of the washing machine and wear it until it dries. If you're in a hurry, you can toss the hat into your clothes dryer. Use medium heat, however, and check the cap every 10 minutes. You don't want it to keep shrinking in the dryer until it gets too small.


If you want the convenience of the washing machine but are concerned that your cap will lose its shape, wash it on the top rack of your dishwasher instead of in the washing machine. Wash it alone so it doesn't come out covered in food residue.



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